Niclas Füllkrug fires Dortmund to 1-0 win over PSG in Champions League semifinal first leg

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Niclas Füllkrug scored, and Borussia Dortmund earned a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal on Wednesday.

Dortmund defender Nico Schlotterbeck sent a long pass over the top for Füllkrug to control brilliantly with his first touch before firing it past PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma with his next in the 36th minute.

“It’s not the first time that I’ve tried to stick the ball in at the near post this season. This time it worked out, and I’m even happier that it’s in such an important game,” Füllkrug said.

The win gives Dortmund a narrow advantage before the teams play again in the second leg in Paris next Tuesday, when the French champion will need to overturn the result if it’s going to capture Europe’s biggest prize before Kylian Mbappé leaves the club.

PSG is under pressure to finally win to the Champions League to justify more than a decade of huge investment from its Qatari owners.

Dortmund’s win ensured it qualified for the tournament next season and it gives the Bundesliga five teams in the expanded tournament. Dortmund is assured of finishing at least fifth.

Roared on by most of the 81,365 fans present, including the famed “yellow wall” behind one of the goals, Dortmund made the busier start and maintained its intensity for the whole game. The home team ran 119.7 kilometers — almost 10 more than the visitors.

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Defender Lucas Hernández went off injured after trying to stop Füllkrug from scoring. It looked like Hernández suffered a left leg injury.

PSG pushed hardest early in the second half, when Mbappé hit the right post before Achraf Hakimi struck the left post.

Gregor Kobel saved Mbappé’s next effort and Dortmund survived the pressure.

Füllkrug went on to miss further good chances for the German team, while Marquinhos made a crucial block to deny Julian Brandt late on.

“It would have been nice if we could have made our counterattacks count to get a second goal at the end,” Dortmund veteran Mats Hummels said. “But now we have to come through in Paris.”

The visitors missed chances, too.

Ousmane Dembelé should have scored on his return to Dortmund when he blazed a shot over late, then Vitinha flashed a shot wide of the left post.

“We tried to keep the ball from them but it’s so difficult because they have a lot of quality,” PSG coach Luis Enrique said. “They are a great team on the ball and off the ball. Today, in that environment, they were great in both aspects of the game. I think we had maybe a lack of intensity in the first half, but in the second half we created clear, clear chances. But we couldn’t score.”

Dortmund coach Edin Terzić only made his first substitution in the 83rd, when he sent on veteran Marco Reus for the exhausted Karim Adeyemi.

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The winner of the two-leg tie will play either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the final in London on June 1. The old rivals drew 2-2 in their semifinal first leg in Munich on Tuesday.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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